German software giant SAP SE is investing in a Baltimore-based startup that takes flavor "fingerprints" of people and food with technology initially developed at McCormick & Co.
SAP said Wednesday it will invest an undisclosed amount in Vivanda, founded in December 2014 by a former executive of the Hunt Valley-based spice maker. The company's FlavorPrint technology analyzes millions of data points to match people and foods for customers in the food and beverage industry.
SAP and Vivanda will collaborate to offer FlavorPrint technology to SAP's consumer food and beverage manufacturer customers. The technology helps personalize web food content and helps companies understand consumers' eating habits and taste preferences.
Food industry companies can better compete by offering consumers more personalized experiences, said E.J. Kenney, senior vice president of consumer products industry business solutions at SAP.
"Consumer research shows that the number one driver for selecting food is taste preference, and consumer are craving personalized recommendations on products and services with regard to preferences on taste, texture, diet and nutrition to inform choice," said Jerry Wolfe, Vivanda's CEO and founder, in Wednesday's announcement.
Wolfe served for 15 years as chief information officer and vice president of connected commerce for McCormick, where Vivanda got its start before being spun off in late 2014. The company has raised $4 million in funding from three investors, which besides SAP, include McCormick and a New York-based private investor group.